What does the Paris Agreement on climate change mean for civil engineering?

23 November, 2016 | 18:00 - 20:00

What does the Paris Agreement on climate change mean for civil engineering?

About this event

Registration for this event is now closed. The lecture will be available to watch online.

The agreement made at COP21 in 2015 set the international agenda for tackling climate change over the next century. This lecture is an opportunity for civil engineers to understand the specific implications, challenges and path forward for our industry.

It is critical that infrastructure adopts sustainable, low carbon solutions to meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  It must also adapt, introducing measures against sea level rise, flood risk, water scarcity and other impacts.

The transition to renewable energy generation across the world is vital to stay within a global 2C temperature increase. It is crucial for ICE to use momentum from Paris to investigate and disseminate what the agreements mean for the civil engineering profession;, in terms of the work of engineers, policy and strategy for infrastructure delivery, the skills required for the future and the impacts on all major sectors.

View the programme and speaker tabs for more information. This lecture is available to attend in London or to watch online. We hope you can join us.

To find out more about the UK's progress since the Paris COP21 agreement, read our blog; and also, our wider look at UK Energy policy.


18:00 Registration and welcome refreshments

18:30 Welcome from the Chair

18:35 Building pathways to Paris – Fulfilling the UK’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement through strategic infrastructure investments

  • As part of the ICE-led National Needs Assessment, the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) has modelled alternative pathways to meeting UK’s Climate Change Act, and beyond to the Paris COP21 deal
  • Analysis suggests that infrastructure will be required to do most of the “heavy lifting” in decarbonising the economy
  • Depending on technological change, a number of pathways exist for the UK. However, the timing of investments will be crucial

Dr Matthew Ives – Senior Researcher, University of Oxford

19:00 Questions and Answers

19.10 How the energy sector can lead in achieving our climate targets

  • Energy facets – demand, efficiency, storage and supply (electricity, heat and motive)
  • Industrial/engineering impacts of COP21 for the UK
    • Generation, production and supply options
    • Storage, load management and efficiency
  • Considerations beyond industry and engineering

Philip Wolfe – Director of Community Energy England

19:35 Questions and Answers

19:45 Summation from the Chair

20:00 Close of lecture


Dr Matthew Ives, Senior Researcher, University of Oxford

Dr Matthew Ives

Dr Matthew Ives is an infrastructure systems modeller at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. As a key member of the Oxford-led Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium, Dr Ives managed the development of the National Infrastructure Systems Model for Long-term Performance (NISMOD-LP), a modelling tool that incorporates key infrastructure components including energy, water, waste, transport and information technology into an integrated system-of-systems for analysis of long-term infrastructure capacity and demand.

Through collaborations with the Committee on Climate Change and the newly formed National Infrastructure Commission, Dr Ives has been applying the NISMOD-LP tool to help inform decisions around future UK infrastructure requirements and the implications of changing socio-economic and climatic conditions on our economic sustainability and prosperity.

Dr Ives is also collaborating with the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to develop similar infrastructure modelling capabilities for post-disaster, post-conflict contexts to help ensure that infrastructure is being ‘built back better’ and that interdependencies between infrastructure sectors are incorporated into planning decisions.

Philip Wolfe – Director of Community Energy England

Philip Wolfe

Philip Wolfe MBE is one of the pioneers of the UK renewable and community energy sectors.

A Cambridge first-class engineering graduate, Philip has been in sustainable energy since the 1970’s and was the first Chief Executive of BP Solar, before establishing Intersolar Group. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Renewable Energy Association and Community Energy England and has served on both boards and as Director General of the former and Chairman of the letter.

Routledge published his book on utility-scale solar power projects in 2012, and he has written, and contributed to, many other books and articles.

Philip now serves as non-executive Director of Community Energy England, Westmill Solar Co-operative, Communities for Renewables, Cuckmere Community Solar, Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd and Earthworm Energy Plc; a panel member of the Climate Bonds Initiative; and founder of Wiki-Solar. He also provides advisory services through WolfeWare Limited.

He was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours 2016 for services to renewable energy and the energy sector.